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Nipah virus takes two lives in India; over 700 people tested

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The southern Indian state of Kerala shut some schools, offices and public transport on Wednesday in a race to stop the spread of the rare and deadly Nipah virus, which has killed two people, Reuters said.

Two adults and a child were still infected in hospital, and more than 700 people were being tested for the virus, spread via contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs or people, a state health official said.

The state government on Wednesday evening said at least 706 people, including 153 health workers, were undergoing tests to check the spread of the virus. Results were awaited.

Two infected people have died since August 30 in Kerala’s fourth outbreak of the virus since 2018, forcing authorities to declare containment zones in at least eight Kozhikode villages.

The Nipah virus was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of illness among pig farmers and others in close contact with the animals in Malaysia and Singapore.

Outbreaks are sporadic and previous infections in South Asia have occurred when people drank date-palm sap contaminated with bat excreta.

In Kerala’s first Nipah outbreak, 21 of the 23 people infected died. Outbreaks in 2019 and 2021 killed two people.

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India, Sri Lanka Fishers Hold Firm on Fishing Rights

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Fishermen from India’s Rameswaram are demanding unrestricted access to harvest fish in the waters near Sri Lanka.

However, the Sri Lankan fishermen have reiterated their stance, asserting that there can be no room for concessions.

The recent sentencing of four Indian fishermen by the Delft court for trespassing in the Sea of Sri Lanka has ignited tensions, prompting protest actions among Tamil Nadu’s fishing community.

In response to the court’s decision, the President of Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association engaged in dialogue with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.

“The fishermen detained in Sri Lankan prisons must be released. The boats held by the Sri Lanka Navy must also be released. As a permanent solution to the issue, Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian prisons, and Sri Lankan boats must be released,” said  P. Jesuraj, the Leader of the Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association.

The fishing community in Jaffna emphasize that there can be no further leniency or accommodation for any actions that violate established norms.

“The fishing community in the North have been very lenient with the fishermen from Tamil Nadu despite the use of Bottom Trawling to pillage our marine resources. Therefore, we will no longer allow them to pillage the Sea of Sri Lanka using illegal methods,” said Annalingam Annarasa, the Secretary of the Delft Fisheries Association.

(newsfirst.lk)

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“14.3% Surge in new HIV infections in 2023, reveals national program”

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The National Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS Prevention Program states that the reporting of new HIV infections has increased by 14.3 percent.

This is higher in 2023 compared to 2022, director, Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana, community medicine specialist said.
She said that last year, 694 new HIV infected people were identified, most of them were men, and the number is 611, which as percentage is 88%. Last year, 81 HIV infected women were reported, which is 11.7 percent as a percentage. It is also
reported that there are 4100 infected people in society.

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Sri Lanka to Host Digital Economy Summit in July

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The State Minister for Technology, Mr. Kanaka Herath, announced that the anticipated National Cyber Security Act will be introduced this year, followed by the establishment of the Cyber Security Authority.

Additionally, the State Minister underscored the preparations made for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka by the end of July. The summit serves as a platform for fostering innovation, collaboration, and investment in digital technologies, thus propelling the country towards a more resilient and prosperous digital economy.

Speaking at a press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” held at the President Media Centre (PMC) today (29),

State Minister Herath further said;

The digital economy, which previously stood at 4.73%, has now surpassed the 5% mark, indicating significant growth.

This expansion has notably bolstered the country’s overall economic resilience. To further enhance this momentum, preparations are underway for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka at the end of July. The summit aims to attract both local and foreign investors, with collaborative efforts from foreign embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Investment Promotion facilitating this initiative.

Furthermore, a sum of Rs. 50 million derived from the profits of Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) was allocated to the treasury in the previous year. In line with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal, a new initiative has been launched to uplift small and medium-sized industrialists, who constitute 52% of the country’s economy. This endeavour seeks to empower such enterprises technologically, offering them Good manufacturing practice (GMP) and SLSI certifications. Additionally, plans are underway to facilitate access to low-interest loans through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the ultimate goal of guiding these small and medium-sized industrialists into the market.

(dailynews.lk)

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